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Good commentary by Bob
The DVD set has a Bob Newhart commentary track on this episode, and it's worth listening to, though you won't hear much about the concept and filming of the episode.
For example, when mail man Eddie walks into the outer office set, Bob goes on for a good five minutes about the actor, Bill Quinn, who was his father in law.
At another point Bob tells a joke he often told to live studio audiences while doing his stand up before taping.
Bob reveals that Buddy Hackett set him up on a blind date with Ginny, the woman Bob married. And Ginny attended every taping of The Bob Newhart Show. (She's also responsible for the ending of Newhart, but that's another story.)
Then Bob goes on for five minutes or more naming the films he's been in and how he and Ginny took their kids to all the locations, trying to give them as normal a life as possible.
When the actor who plays Mr. Vickers, Lucian Scott, is on, Bob doesn't tell us about him but rather laughs along with every line as if seeing the episode for the first time.
At first I was annoyed that Bob wasn't talking about the episode except to riff on something that popped into his head when Bill Quinn entered the room (for example). But he was so entertaining that it didn't matter. Hope I didn't ruin it for you.
Rear Window (1954)
A classic? Not in my book.
You have to get past a central conceit to enjoy this movie, and that is that everyone outside L.B. Jeffries' rear window is a voyeur who loves the thought of everyone across the way being able to see everything that goes on in their apartments or numbskulls who don't remember that their blinds are up and curtains open.
Even the apartments are constructed in such a way as to serve the flawed premise. Thorwald's apartment in particular defies belief, as every room has a window looking overlooking the courtyard.
The idea that a 25-year-old wealthy, socialite beauty like Grace Kelly's character would be interested in a paycheck-to-paycheck photographer played by the 54-year-old Jimmy Stewart who spends half his life in third world countries is absurd.
I have some minor quibbles as well.
The actor Gig Young, playing the editor who speaks to L.B. Jeffries on the phone at the beginning of the movie could have done a much better job of sounding realistic. It sounds like he just mailed it in.
Jeffries refers to his telephoto lens as a "long focus lens." What they hell is that? They needed a photographer to read the script and apparently didn't get one.
Jeffries' police department friend defies credibility. He's not on the case officially, but apparently spent a lot of time looking into it based on what he eventually reports to Jeffries. And after Grace Kelly's character breaks into Thorwald's apartment and steals the incriminating wedding ring this police officer says that's all they need to convict Thorwald. In what country would that be true?
Of course, Thorwald eventually confesses everything, and all is tied up neatly. Even "Miss Lonely Hearts" finds a boyfriend in the person of the songwriter.
I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone, but apparently most people don't see it as I do. So give it a try and see who you agree with.
Foyle's War: Eagle Day (2002)
This one lost me at the end
There is no bad episode of Foyle's War, but there are flawed episodes, and this is one of them. The flaw is a gratuitous bombing raid on Andrew's duty station just as he and Foyle are leaving. This is supposed to be a super-secret base where everyone has signed the official secrets act and can't say anything to anyone about what goes on there. (Even the rape of a female radar operator by her commanding officer.) So along comes the bombing raid, and once it's over the Foyles merely get into the car that Sam has conveniently just arrived in and leave. Nothing is said about possible casualties or how awful it is that the Germans now recognize this secret base as a target.
It seems to have been added as mere comic relief, as Andrew leads his father to shelter in a fuel dump as the bombs explode. What the hell was Anthony Horowitz thinking?
Michael becomes Archie for an episode
Archie is conveniently absent while Michael, Gloria, Edith, Lionel and the Lorenzos play a game in which players are asked questions designed to reveal aspects of their psyches.
Mike responds to the constructive criticism he hears by raging at everyone. He's even sitting in Archie's chair as he does so, which was probably planned but not mentioned in the episode. (A nice touch in any case.)
But Mike's indignation is a bit over the top and so not quite believable.
However, it's nice to see him get his comeuppance from someone besides Archie.
Emergency!: The Inspection (1975)
Shares a filming location with "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
The subject of discussion at Station 51 is a surprise inspection by the fire chief that will occur sometime that day. This is played for laughs, as the guys clean the station, including the vehicles, then drive through mud puddles on their runs and have to clean the vehicles again. As between-run diversions go it's not bad. We get to see inside of Capt. Stanley's office, where he has a clock with the fire chief's face on it.
I watched this episode out of sequence because Warren Berlinger, whom I loved in the season three episode "Inheritance Tax," is in it. Unfortunately, the character he plays here, Mr. Fennedy, is mild mannered and nothing like the scenery chewing commodities trader he played in season three.
Fennedy had a heart transplant six months before, and his wife is convinced he has changed for the worse. "He's not the man I married," she says. "Not the same man at all."
Turns out she's been ragging on him about not being the same man ever since he came home with the new heart.
The paramedics get him to Rampart where Dr. Brackett tells Mrs. Fennedy that if she keeps nagging her husband he will "psychosomatically reject his heart." (Perhaps he should have said Fennedy may psychosomatically reject his wife.)
I couldn't help but think that this was probably the only acting job Berlinger ever had where his shirt came off. (He's not exactly the most svelte actor you've ever seen.)
In the end his wife cools off and everything is hunky dory.
Wolfman Jack makes an appearance as a radio station employee filming a skydiver named Lucky Collins who came down in some power lines and is suspended 30 feet off the ground. Unfortunately, Jack has nothing to do beyond explaining to Gage and DeSoto what happened. I'm surprised he took the job. Maybe he needed the money.
Although this isn't the final rescue it's the most interesting, as someone (probably stuntmen) climbed this big electrical tower to get the parachutist down. The shots of Gage and DeSoto working on Lucky are tight, so they were probably filmed close to the ground. But in the long shots you can see there really was someone hanging on the tower in a parachute and two men climbed up to get him.
Next comes an amusing dog bite scene at Rampart. Veteran actor Roger Bowen plays a veterinarian who was bitten by a boxer. He says it's an occupational hazard and plays the part well. Brackett fixes him up, and that's that.
The next emergency call is for a man who was injured while racing his car in the concrete riverbed (or whatever they call it) where the Terminator and John Connor were chased by the T-1000 in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
The car is upside down, and the driver has to be put into an inflatable suit so he will make it to Rampart alive.
Once he's in the hospital they determine he has hip and pelvis fractures. The suit is deflated, and the patient's pain gets bad. So the suit is re-inflated. I guess that's all they had time for because we never see the outcome of that one.
Next thing we know the firefighters have returned to Station 51, where Capt. Stanley tells them that the fire chief came by early that morning when they were on a run, let himself in and conducted the inspection. The only word Stanley got about it was that the clock in his office is two minutes slow.
That's supposed to be funny because before they knew the chief had come and gone they hid the clock so he wouldn't see it.
Emergency!: Inheritance Tax (1973)
Great work by two guest stars
Unlike most episodes, this one begins with a run that's called in while Gage and DeSoto are on the road.
A toddler named Billy is trapped in a Ford Pinto that broke a fire hydrant, hit a tree and brought down two live power lines on the car.
It looks like it might be big trouble, but the paramedics solve it easily enough and save Billy. The star of the scene is Billy's mother, who had left the car just before it rolled down a hill with Billy inside. She runs up hollering, and Gage has to physically stop her from running to the car. I can't tell who the actress is, but she emoted well.
"It's mommy's fault," she tells Billy. "I didn't curb the wheels."
Back at station, Roy is about tell Johnny about a letter sent to both of them by Mrs. Rosendahl, whom they saved a year ago and has since died. Just as he's about to get into it, they get a call.
The secretary of a commodities trader phoned for help after her boss, Mr. Winthrop (well played by Warren Berlinger), collapsed temporarily.
When the paramedics arrive, Winthrop is talking on three phones, giving buy and sell orders frantically. He doesn't want to take time away from trading for medical tests and tells the paramedics to leave. Just then he has chest pains, and they go to work on him. As they wheel him out on a gurney he says, "This better be necessary or I'll get you guys for this." Winthrop's story is revisited periodically throughout the episode, as Brackett and Early have their problems in getting him to cooperate, too. It would be less entertaining if they hadn't found such a good actor for the part. Berlinger really dives in and chews scenery.
Be sure to watch for Marion Ross (a.k.a. Mrs. Cunningham of Happy Days) as Winthrop's secretary.
After the Winthrop run the boys discuss the letter saying they were named in Mrs. Rosendahl's will. Gage assumes they'll be rich and fantasizes aloud what he will do with the money. Roy eventually gives in and throws out his own ideas, although his are more practical than Gage's.
You have to wait for episode's end to see how it turned out, but a lawyer explains to them that the estate was worth $1.2 million, but there are "deductions." It takes five minutes for him to name them all, and the boys are left with $37.50. Adding insult to injury, the lady's cat got $15,000.
There's a strange filler scene at Rampart where a boy about six-years-old, apparently unaccompanied by an adult, finds Joe Early and says his friend Pete is outside, and can he buy a bandage with seven cents to patch Pete up? Joe gets Pete to come inside, applies a bandage, then has a conversation with the boys, showing them how to use a stethoscope. Then they all say goodbye, and it's on to the next thing.
I was saying, "Why aren't you asking these boys where their parents are and why they are in the hospital without them?" But the writers didn't address that. Sometimes I think this stuff is inserted into episodes because they are short a few minutes to fill their allotted time.
The next paramedic call is a teenager who collapsed after consuming 19 hamburgers in an eating contest. It's done mostly for laughs, as the teen who won the contest by eating 20 hamburgers is skinny as a rail and says he just feels a little "full." The other teen is fine after they get him to Rampart. The marquis run is a fire at Acme Paint. It's a great visual, as they really did set a building on fire, had windows blowing out and a truck exploding. One man ran out on fire, so the paramedics had someone to treat.
The scene where the lawyer explains that the boys are getting chump change from the estate comes after the paint factory fire, and a call comes in, so the boys have to get moving again.
Gage is bummed out because he didn't inherit a bundle. DeSoto says, "Cheer up, it's a rich neighborhood."
Emergency!: Insomnia (1973)
Johnny can't sleep
The episode begins with Gage having insomnia. He thinks it's because they haven't had a night run in a while. Insomnia talk is like a buffer between emergency runs and hospital goings on. It's revisited four times during the episode and ends with Gage going on a run that involves the fire truck only to try and break the spell. As filler material between the runs goes, it's not bad.
The first run is a man in a boat on a trailer in the middle of the road. A butane tank exploded. Not terribly exciting or interesting.
Brackett treats a boy who was in a car accident. He has a bad head injury but is diagnosed and taken care of in short order. I thought it was going to end up being child abuse, but it didn't.
The next run concerns a man named Dan acting crazy in a computer room. He has to be tackled by Gage before he and DeSoto can treat him. Veteran actor Ronnie Schell plays Dan's work friend who says Dan's drug use is limited to marijuana. Everyone is skeptical of this because Dan is showing what Brackett says is signs of a heroin overdose.
It turns out that Dan grew his own pot and treated it with the commercial insecticide parathion; the handling of which made him crazy. Watching the episode, I was yelling at the characters to have Dan's pot checked for contaminants every time Ronnie Schell insisted that Dan's drug use was limited to marijuana. So the ultimate answer was obvious (to me anyway).
The paramedics' next call is a man who was in the back of a loading dock for semi trucks when someone backed a truck up, pinning him between truck and dock. He's happy and chatty as the paramedics arrive, and it's concluded that the truck trailer is acting like a tourniquet, and when the truck is removed he will bleed internally. That happens, sure enough, but the man is saved anyway.
The marquis rescue is of a man and child trapped in a gravel pit. The man is pulled out quickly. Rescue of the boy takes longer, but he's fine in the end.
As marquis rescues go it was a bit below average.
This is followed by a bit of a tease, as the station alarm goes off, and I was thinking, "Okay, maybe THIS is the marquis rescue." But it was just the set-up for Gage to join the firefighters on their run to cure his insomnia.
Viewers don't get to see how this worked out, though, as the episode ends with the fire truck leaving the station and Gage standing on the back of it.
Emergency!: Promotion (1973)
Episode illustrates a real-life problem
The main message in this episode was a big issue at the time. Firefighter paramedics in Los Angeles couldn't be promoted unless they were willing to give up being paramedics.
DeSoto is approved for promotion to engineer, meaning he would drive the fire truck and operate it at the scene. But he couldn't be a paramedic anymore. He's not sure which way to go, although it should be obvious to the viewer that good old Roy isn't going anywhere.
Still, his angst in reaching a decision is well played, as Roy balances the additional money he would make as an engineer with his love for paramedic work.
The gang's first call is interesting. Multiple cars have crashed in the fog on a freeway. Gage and DeSoto crawl into wrecked cars to treat victims, Rampart is getting slammed, and Kelly gives CPR to a 2-year-old girl.
Although I didn't see any commercials while watching this on DVD, they went to a commercial break as Kelly was giving CPR to the girl; a great hook to bring viewers back on the other side.
Once the paramedics reach Rampart, DeSoto talks to Brackett and Early about possibly leaving paramedics. They won't advise him either way but say he's the best paramedic in Los Angeles.
A subplot involves father and son victims of the freeway pileup. Turns out the teenage boy was told he has a weak heart and has led a sedentary life as a result. Brackett tells him it's more a matter of his heart working hard because it's not quite keeping up with his growing body, and the situation will correct itself with age. Still, the boy has grown accustomed to his lifestyle and resists believing Brackett.
Gage and DeSoto just sit down to dinner and get a call: Attempted suicide. They have trouble finding the address, but once there discover that the "suicide" in question only took six aspirin. Roy falls into the swimming pool, which was pretty funny. The marquis run to cap the episode is a building on fire. Gage and DeSoto go inside to rescue a security guard and barely make it out. DeSoto, in fact, gets blasted out of a second story window by an explosion. Great special effects here, and it looks like they really did blast Kevin Tighe out of the window.
Later, DeSoto tells Gage that he will turn down the promotion, and maybe in a year the rules will be changed and he can be promoted and still be a paramedic.
Emergency!: Snakebite (1973)
Over before you know it
There's no dead time in this episode and precious little filler, and it was over before I knew it; a pretty good sign.
The episode begins with Gage, DeSoto and Kelly returning from a fishing trip when they come upon a recent auto accident. With none of their usual gear, they help a mother and son who were injured and get them into an unnamed small town where the doctor is a hippie but knows his business.
Once that adventure is over the guys are back on duty and get called out for a car that left the road and went down a steep embankment.
The victims are rescued, but Gage is bitten by a rattlesnake.
From then on the episode gets more interesting, as DeSoto has already left with the accident victims in a copter, so Gage has to play the part of patient and paramedic on the radio as he lies on top of Engine 51.
Keeping the suspense up, Dr. Bracket says: "If it's a grade four, Johnny could be dead within minutes."
Chet Kelly is more concerned about Gage than you might expect, seeing as how his MO is to ridicule Gage whenever possible. Dixie and DeSoto have a nice exchange about that.
But, of course, he is cured and back to his old annoying self at episode's end.
Emergency!: Heavyweight (1973)
Can't you see what that woman's been doing to me?
The episode begins with a nocturnal apartment building fire where a pregnant April Rawlins is rescued and Gage injures his shoulder.
April gives birth back at Rampart but the baby has a cleft palate, which greatly discomfits April. Turns out she left her religious parents back in Iowa to run off with Rab, who is in a band. Now with the fire and the baby's cleft palate she believes she's cursed. Dixie eventually straightens her out. That story line didn't do much for me.
Gage's shoulder injury is minor and merely a catalyst to a health kick that is played for laughs as the episode continues.
Dr. Early works on an electric shock victim, a boy. His mother is on drugs or something. But all is well after Early fixes him up. It's easily the least interesting part of the show.
The most interesting rescue is of two neighbors who got in a fight. One was stabbed. The other was shot. Both are fathers, and their kids get involved. One almost makes the mistake of his life, thanks to a rifle that was lying around.
The last rescue is of a man who crashed a hang glider and is stuck in a tree. Gage climbs up to get him. As finale rescues go, it's no great shakes.
Lastly, I noticed three occasions when songs of the time were quoted.
One character says: "You've got all the time in the world." (From the theme to the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service.")
Another character says, "Can't you see?" which is the title of a Marshall Tucker Band song.
There was a third song lyric in the dialogue that I don't remember.
Emergency!: An English Visitor (1973)
Tables turned on Gage
An English paramedic rides with Gage and DeSoto. The actor portraying him is no great shakes, but the story is good.
Gage has an insecure reaction when the Englishman shows interest in a nurse he himself set his sights on. On the last rescue (of a man stuck in a grain elevator) the Englishman asks to climb the elevator with Gage and DeSoto, and Gage tells him to be careful because they don't want to have to rescue him, too. Not long after that, Gage almost falls from top of elevator and the Englishman saves his life.
Gage later learns that the Englishman is a bonafide hero back in the UK after single handedly saving eight people.
Speaking of the grain elevator rescue: The guys climb up the bucket chain to the top, and I had to wonder why they couldn't find a better way. It wouldn't look as thrilling on TV, I suppose.
The rest of the episode consists of...
A piece of a catheter breaks off in a patient, and Bracket has to fish it out by inserting a probe into the vein. I guess it was supposed to be suspenseful, but I found it dull and plodding.
A nurse is habitually late and tells a patient's wife to "shut up." Dixie straightens her out.
The banter between the guys on Emergency has always been tame and G rated, but it approaches lame territory in this episode.
Watch for the squad being driven over a curb while taking a corner too tightly early in the episode. I had to wonder if it was done intentionally or was a mistake. My guess is mistake, as they wouldn't want to damage their vehicle.
Emergency!: Alley Cat (1973)
I'm nitpicking again
Another good episode, but the bit with the pregnant cat that wandered into the station had an unrealistic ending. Only hours after the kittens are born the mother and offspring disappear. The guys return from a run, and the cat family is nowhere in sight. I'd sure like to know how a cat with four kittens can pick them all up and move elsewhere.
In the hospital, an opportunity for a major laugh was missed. Doctors Bracket and Early are working on the case of the woman with a brain injury. To finish the scene, Early says "Lets look at those pictures." They start doing so, and the scene ends. I thought it would have been hysterical if the pictures had been from Early's vacation.
It's understandable that they didn't do it, as Emergency isn't a comedy. But I would have been rolling on the floor laughing.
Emergency!: The Old Engine (1973)
Good episode marred by a dumb scene
I love Emergency, but occasionally the viewer is asked to believe something that makes no sense. I'm thinking of the scene where the firemen try to start an ancient fire truck they got out a junk yard before even seeing if it had oil in it. Only third graders might think that would work.
The Lazarus Man: The Cattle Drive (1996)
Lazarus joins a cattle drive
I like the guest stars in this one, particularly those who played Stiles, the Strayhorn brothers and Isom Dart. I had no trouble believing that they were who they were supposed to be.
The plot was good, although it's a bit of a stretch to think that a man who lied in wait to kill Lazarus, as happened early on, would take a shot at night instead of waiting for daylight when Lazarus gets up and makes coffee.
However, this could be taken to be a clue that the rogue elements of the federal government searching the West for Lazarus know him to be an exceptionally capable man best murdered in his sleep.
There are no Lincoln assassination flashbacks in this episode, but it has already been established that Lazarus was a presidential bodyguard ordered from his post so Lincoln could be killed.
The wrangler characters were written well, and their half-baked and ultimately forfeited idea to steal the herd seemed believable. They were rough, tough men, but becoming outlaws was something that gave them pause. Although they didn't like Dart (because he was both literate and black) he was on the trail with them, and they ultimately threw in with Lazarus to rescue him from hanging.
The end of the episode was a little hard to believe, as Lazarus returns to the site where the US Marshall was killed, and his body has been removed. This presupposes at least one more federal man in the area who was working with the Marshall. Why didn't HE try to kill Lazarus?
But overall the episode works and is well worth watching.
The Lazarus Man: The Boy General (1996)
Great episode despite mediocre acting
The inclusion of the historical Custer is a treat, but Maxwell Caufield doesn't quite bring it off. Alicia Coppola leaves something to be desired as Libby Custer, too. She and Lazarus are supposed to be attracted to each other, but that dog didn't hunt for me. In fact, none of the supporting players did anything to distinguish themselves.
There is a nice bit of action near the end, as Lazarus slides down a small hill on his butt while firing his gun. Other than that the episode is mostly people talking.
But the plot is worthy, and the episode is entertaining.
The Lazarus Man: The Conspirator (1996)
Great script, casting, soundtrack and stunts
The episode has Lazarus riding into Wrightsville, Arkansas, where he asks the black manager of a Freedmen Bureau to wire Washington and see if someone can be sent to hear Lazarus' recollection of the Lincoln assassination and how he was knocked out by the leader of a conspiracy and thus prevented from stopping John Wilkes Booth.
The man who shows up, played with a strong Irish accent by Tom Mason, seems sincere, but Lazarus has doubts.
Laurie O'Brien plays Charlotte Bowers, a boarding house owner who befriends and helps Lazarus.
The two have a brief romance that is notable for being between two actors who are close in age. O'Brien was 45. Urich was 51. Well done to Casting Director Sharon Bialy for putting an age-appropriate actress opposite the middle-aged Urich.
The episode works well, and the harmonica-heavy soundtrack is a perfect complement to the acting.
Be sure to watch the great stunt near the end when Lazarus knocks a man off his horse with a shovel. I don't know how it was done without injuring the stunt man and certainly wouldn't want to try it myself.
The Lazarus Man: Purgatory (1996)
Great vehicle for the underrated Stephen McHattie
Stephen McHattie is good in everything I see him in, and this is no exception. My only complaint is that it's harder to understand him when he affects an Irish accent.
McHattie plays Mac, a former colleague of Lazarus who believes Lazarus left him and a few others to be captured by Confederates and put into Andersonville Prison Camp.
Mac was evidently a government man, too, because he knows enough to telegram Major Gaffney, the fed who wants Lazarus dead or alive, and offer to deliver him up.
Mac tells Gaffney to meet him at a deserted mine in Purgatory, Arkansas to take possession of Lazarus.
Then Mac tells a cock and bull story to Lazarus to get him to go to Purgatory.
It's a bit more complicated than that, but suffice to say there is a deal of action at the mine, including explosives and gunfire.
The conceits in this one are a bit too much for me to swallow. But it's worth seeing for the glimpses into Lazarus' past, which comes in black & white flashbacks, and through discussions with Mac.
I like the stunt casting with former Magnum P.I. co-stars Larry Manetti and Roger Mosley playing Tom Selleck's poker buddies, but they had very little to do, and their parts could have been played by anyone.
The running gag with Piper wearing one outlandish Halloween costume after another and failing to scare her co-workers was lame and repetitive. How does she find time to do this when she has a JOB at the casino?
The plot where Mike is involved with a woman who turns out to be on the run from an abusive husband did nothing for me.
The episode could have been rescued if anything interesting had been done with Manetti and Mosley. For example, they might have called Cooper (Selleck) Thomas and told him he's done well for himself since his P.I. days in Hawaii. They might have asked him to remove his shirt for old time's sake.
This is one Las Vegas episode I'll never watch again.
Cybill: The Big Apple Can Bite Me (1996)
There are only a couple of laughs in this episode (for me anyway) but Cybill's performance of "That's Life" on the counter of a New York City sushi bar makes me smile every time.
Great start to a great series
Watching this pilot episode - which isn't called "The Awakening" on the DVD, or split into parts - it's obvious why it was green lighted for production.
The premise is intriguing. One of President Lincoln's bodyguards (James Cathcart) tries to stop the assassination but is thwarted by his boss, Major Gaffney, then tortured, dragged behind a horse and buried alive near San Sebastian, Texas.
Digging himself out of the grave on Oct. 31, 1865, Cathcart has amnesia and remembers nothing of his past, though flashbacks come frequently.
These are the central conceits that you must accept if you are to enjoy this series. In reality, it makes no sense that Cathcart would be taken from Washington, D.C. to Nowhere, Texas to be buried alive six months after Lincoln's assassination. And it makes no sense that he would be able to breath long enough underground to dig his way out.
That said... Befriended by a nearby family, the Pratchetts, Cathcart is dubbed Lazarus by Davey Pratchett, the boy who was in the graveyard when Cathcart emerged.
Beating up two Army men who came to take the Pratchetts' only cow, Lazarus make them leave on foot and takes one of their horses for his own use. This is the horse we see Lazarus ride throughout the series.
The plot of this episode involves a group of bitter Texans who fought for the Confederacy. They seek a sharpshooter named Jack Broussard, wishing to hire him to assassinate Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who is to give a speech in San Sebastian.
Lazarus is mistaken for Broussard and plays along with the Blood Knights, but eventually the real Broussard shows up, and Lazarus is in trouble.
At the end he rides out of town, headed for New Orleans to follow a lead on a San Sebastian who seemed to know something about his past.
There is a lot of good action in this one, particularly where Lazarus beats up two Yankee soldiers who came to take the Patchetts' cow and when the Blood Knights attempt to hang him. He is obviously a capable and resourceful man, despite not knowing who he is.
I also like the scene early on where Lazarus wakes up the morning after his "resurrection" and braces himself on a chair in order to stand. Lazarus is shirtless save for a bandage on his chest in this scene, and the sight of his powerful left arm and hairy armpit does a great job of showing how strong he is.
Of the guest stars, I liked Brian James as Tom Halloran the best. He did a great job of communicating malevolence.
Elizabeth Dennehy works well as Mrs. Pratchett, although she's a bit too made up and well dressed to be a woman from rural Texas in 1865, seeming to wear a different dress in every scene she's in.
Watch for Wayne Grace playing two parts, those of Gen. Grant and Major Gaffney, the latter being Cathcart's boss who appears in flashbacks. I know his name is Major Gaffney because he returns in the episode "Dance with Shadows."
Jake Walker is quietly menacing as Jack Broussard and reminds me of Clint Eastwood. He doesn't have much dialogue though.
The Lazarus Man: The Angel Maker (1996)
Lazarus runs afoul of a scheming woman
This is a great episode but should not be last in the order. Having now seen every episode of this series, it is clear that "Dance with Shadows" was meant to be the season's last episode. This one could fit just about anywhere in the timeline.
Mariska Hargitay does a terrific job as Sara, a beautiful woman who knows how to play men to her advantage, and Lazarus is at a disadvantage with her because she resembles his wife Claire.
That resemblance nearly costs Lazarus his freedom, as he is somewhat mesmerized by Sara and doesn't discover her true colors until it's almost too late.
Lastly, Robert Kennard Murphy is in the episode credits. But he is not in the Internet Movie Database and therefore cannot be added to the cast list for this episode.
You'll be scratching your head over this one
At I write this I have seen every episode but the last one (The Angel Maker), and this is the most confusing by far.
The episode is loaded with flashbacks. John Wilkes Booth's mustache comes and goes. A character named Jack Forrestor works for Lazarus in one scene, and the roles are reversed in another. Both Lazarus and Forrestor are seen talking to an unseen, unnamed man in separate scenes.
Much is unexplained. How did Lazarus' enemies manage to set up this elaborate scheme to convince him that he was part of the Lincoln assassination plot? Why don't they just kill him?
Although there are plenty of flashbacks depicting Lazarus' activities in Washington DC leading up to Lincoln's assassination it isn't clear what is real and what is a past that Lazarus' enemies want him to believe.
In the closing narration, Lazarus vows to get to the truth and "take back my country."
But the audience is more confused than ever.
A bit confusing after the previous episode
Quite a strange episode, this one is.
It begins with Lazarus escaping from a small town jail, using a boot nail to loosen the bars on a window. (How he got there is anyone's guess.)
Narration explains that a man is coming to take him into custody, which is why he had to escape.
That man, Dunn, arrives the next day, and after a brief conversation with the sheriff heads off in pursuit of Lazarus.
The sheriff is forming a posse, but neither is seen or heard from again.
Dunn catches Lazarus in short order, but the two are soon found and captured by four men who claim to have been sent by Major Gaffney.
So Lazarus and Dunn must work together to escape the four men.
Lazarus and Dunn have a running conversation throughout their four days together in which Dunn proves to have no sense of fair play or morality. Lazarus tries to teach it to him. (If the DVD had captions I could go into more detail.)
At one point they discuss Major Gaffney, who was killed by Lazarus in the previous episode, "Dance With Shadows." In this episode Lazarus doesn't seem to know who Gaffney is, or even what his own real name is, which was revealed in "Dance With Shadows."
So this episode was probably meant to take place before the events of "Dance With Shadows."
The episode did, however, seem to take less time to play out as any other episode. I guess you can chalk it up to pacing. I was surprised when it ended, not because the ending was surprising, but that it seemed to come so soon. I thought there was 15 minutes to go.
Marcus Gilbert turns in a credible performance as Dunn, the limey bounty hunter sent by Gaffney to bring Lazarus in. But he is frequently difficult to understand for this hard of hearing reviewer.
I was disappointed that Tony Frank, who played the sheriff, didn't figure more prominently in the episode because he dominated the one scene he had.
I'm not sure of the actor's name who played the old man who lends a mule and a gun to Lazarus and Dunn, but he did a great job, too.
The Lazarus Man: Shadow (1996)
Finally, much more of Lazarus' back story is provided
Lazarus learns his true identity (James Cathcart) in this episode and is reunited with wife Claire and brother Patrick.
After reading a newspaper notice saying Claire would wait for him in a certain town, Lazarus goes there even though he suspects it is a trap by federal agents to capture him.
His suspicion was correct, and the bulk of the episode takes place in this town where 25 federal agents under Major Gaffney are holding Claire as bait to draw Lazarus.
Lazarus and Patrick team up despite Patrick's anger with his brother for not saving their parents when Richmond fell during the Civil War.
After several episodes in which little or nothing is revealed about Lazarus' forgotten past, it was nice to get back to that mystery. Many blanks are filled in for Lazarus, but in the end he is in pretty much the same situation he was in at the beginning.
Of the guest stars, I liked Tim Ransom as Brendon Hamilton, Major Gaffney's aide, the most. He just seemed more natural and believable than the others.
Robert Knepper as Patrick Cathcart didn't do much for me, which is surprising because he had a good part with great lines.
Wayne Grace is convincingly malevolent as Major Gaffney, the former superior officer of Capt. James Cathcart when he was "one of the union's most fearless operatives."
Isabelle Townsend plays Claire Cathcart as an intelligent, savvy woman who doesn't miss much. A fitting partner for James Cathcart (a.k.a. Lazarus).
I had to wonder if the producers intended at first for this to be the last episode, not just because so much is revealed about Lazarus' back story, but because he is shown riding off alone with a setting (or rising) sun silhouetting him.
The Lazarus Man: The Sheriff (1996)
Max Gail like you've (probably) never seen him before
Having known Max Gail for his work on "Barney Miller" and the film "DC Cab," it was a pleasant surprise to see that he could pull of a dramatic role, too. In fact, if I hadn't known going in that Max Gail was in this one I may not have guessed.
Gail as the sheriff and Michael Massee as Dick Slayton are the main guest stars and neither disappoints, particularly during their scene together in the saloon.
The music is particularly good in this episode, especially during the opening scene and when Slayton rides into town.
All in all, it's a good episode, although the ending is hard to believe.